Riverhounds blanked in USL Pro playoffs
ORLANDO, Fla. — For 180 regular-season minutes, the Riverhounds kept Orlando City's potent offense off the scoreboard, drawing, 0-0, and winning, 1-0, in two meetings.
By the five-minute mark of the USL Pro quarterfinal matchup, that was a distant memory as the seventh-seeded Riverhounds fell, 5-0, ending their season on a soggy Saturday night in the Florida Citrus Bowl.
Orlando's Long Tan and Renan Boufleur each scored in the first five minutes off corner kicks to put the Riverhounds (10-9-8) in a hole from which they couldn't recover.
The Riverhounds caught a break in the 11th minute as Orlando's potential third goal was called back due to offside, but the relief was only temporary as the Lions (17-4-6) dominated the match from start to finish.
The Riverhounds trailed, 2-0, at halftime.
“They got one touch and one goal and then another one two minutes later,” Pittsburgh coach Justin Evans said. “That's tough. It's definitely hard (giving up goals so fast) because you never want to go down in a game, but that's why they make the game 90 minutes.”
Tan scored his second goal of the night just after halftime via a brilliant back-heel pass from Dennis Chin, who beat Riverhounds goalkeeper Hunter Gilstrap to the ball, shooting low under the diving save attempt by defender Michael Green.
Tan returned the favor, setting up Chin for a goal in the 68th minute. Anthony Pulis converted a penalty kick in the 80th minute to complete the scoring. The Riverhounds recorded 15 shots, two on goal, on Miguel Gallardo but struggled to gain any momentum after their poor start.
“We still had confidence in the team at halftime that we could come back and win this game,” Evans said. “We've done that this season already in a couple of games. It just wasn't in the cards for us tonight.”
Orlando City coach Adrian Heath noted his players had an extra surge of motivation, given their struggles against the Riverhounds this season. The 'Hounds beat Orlando City. 1-0, on the road three weeks ago.
“We started very well tonight, and it was an uphill battle for Pittsburgh when we scored two in five,” Heath said. “This is the best Pittsburgh team that we've played by a long way, so they can be pleased with the effort. … Two goals after four or five minutes sets you up for the rest of the game.”
Michael Manganello is a freelance writer.